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At a glance

Country of Origin: Italy
Region of Origin: Piedmont
Typical Product: Red
Structure: Heavy
Climate: Warm - Hot, Dry
Soil Type: Various
Serving Temp: 58 - 63F
Ageability: 7 to 12
Sauces to Pair:
Meals to Pair:
Other Names*:


Nebbiolo is the favorite grape of Piedmont.  It's garnered the reputation of being Italy's answer to the great Bordeaux wines of France ' highly complex, aggressive when young but having the ability to mature for decades into spectacular wines that rank with the best in the world.  Nebbiolo's fame comes with a price though.  It's notoriously difficult to grow.  It buds early making it susceptible to frost yet ripens late so if early rains or cold weather set in, the fruit may not fully ripen.  It's also prone to coulure, where the vines flower but fruit doesn't emerge from the flowers.  If that isn't enough, it's also highly selective about sunlight and soil conditions which is why other wines in the area, notably Dolcetto are often relegated to less favorable locations.  Even in ideal years when growing conditions are optimal the young wine is highly acidic and high in tannins but those components are what gives Nebbiolo its remarkable ability to age.  Nebbiolo's color is extremely unusual.  When produced as a pure Varietal, it pigment is brick red rather than the burgundy to purple color that most other Red wines exhibit.   Its grapes are slate gray in color.

Nebbiolo's origins likely go back more than a thousand years.  There are two different beliefs as to how the grape got is name, the first and most frequently cited is that the name originates from the Italian word 'nebbia' for fog, likely due the hills of Piedmont's weather in early fall.  Another theory is derived from the word 'nobile' meaning noble.  Nebbiolo is sometimes called the 'Noble' grape of Italy.  The first documented evidence of Nebbiolo is in 1268 in the Northern Piedmont town of Rivoli. 

Nebbiolo is quite prone to mutation as are most older Varietals.  By the turn of the millennium, 40 different clones had been identified.  When Nebbiolo first came the US is not known.  Although regions all over the world grow some Nebbiolo, none have done so with any consistent success because it is so finicky about growing conditions that no one outside of Italy has found the ideal temperature, soil and slope conditions to grow truly outstanding Nebbiolo.

Italian Nebbiolo can go by several names, generally referring to the town where it was made, much like a Cabernet Sauvignon from France being called a Bordeaux.  The two more sought after are the wines from Barolo and Barbaresco.

* used in California

Show Me Wineries That Are Selling This Wine With Expanded Listings On

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Name Vintage Year Price Tasting Comments
2006  $28.00   
Callaway Vineyard
2009  $18.00  Rose-Special Selection Nebbiolo Bello 
Karmere Vineyards & Winery
2006  $24.83  Morgan's Nebbiolo-Syrah 
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